Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: Running (page 1 of 3)

A Welsh adventure

Helllooo – ooo – ooo, is anyone there, there , there? *Taps on screen* So, it’s, ahem, been a while. 2 months shy of 2 years in fact since I posted here, I’ve written a few posts over on my running blog but fair to say I’ve lost the urge to write.

But an awful lot has changed since that last post (still making awesome sourdough though which was the subject of that last post), we’ve moved countries for one. Which is the main subject for this post, I thought it was about time I shared a little update about this Welsh adventure we’ve embarked on and some of the plans we’re making for the future.

I’ve written in the past about the dream of finding a job that isn’t in an office, or a job that is more closely linked to my passion for running, cycling and the outdoors. The Lady of the Manor and I have also always dreamed of owning a smallholding and trying to live a simpler life. So at the end of 2017 as I found myself in a job that I really wasn’t enjoying and was becoming quite stressful we decided to stop talking about the dream and just get on and do it. After all, if it doesn’t work out we could always move back again.

So that’s the reason why we decided to make a change but where does Wales fit in? Quite simply Wales ticks a lot of boxes for us; the countryside is stunning and perfect for running and cycling, house prices are lower if you’re willing to be away from the major south coast cities (perfect for us) but there are still reasonable employment opportunities for us both. What we hadn’t expected to find was such great small towns full of life and independent shops or such a welcoming and fun community, particularly at school.

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Defeating the Quadzilla

I beat the Quadzilla, of course by beat I mean limped over the finish line battered and bruised, but victorious nonetheless. I even finished the final of the 4 marathons with my fastest 2km of the 4 days, amazing how you can find that extra burst when you know the end is in sight. Sitting here just over 2 weeks since finishing it all feels a little surreal really, the 4 medals sat next to me the only real evidence of what I did. My legs are pretty much back to normal now after feeling like blocks of lead for at least 10 days but I do still feel a bit achy when I get back from my morning runs.

It won’t surprise you that finishing the quadzilla was tough, getting up for 4 days straight to run another 7 laps of a lake in Milton Keynes hurts both mentally and physically. It was also almost as tiring making sure I managed my recovery well with nutrition, stretching and rest. Surprising how hard it is to force down carbs and protein straight after a marathon, but knowing if you don’t it’ll make a big difference to how you recover. The race route isn’t going to win any prizes for it’s scenery with the A5 whizzing past one end but it was actually ok and finding someone each day running at the roughly the same pace to chat to for a few laps certainly helped. Incidentally you make think I’m crazy but one guy I chatted to had run 58 marathons LAST YEAR. That’s a whole other level of crazy.

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Why I’m running the Quadzilla

My mother in law passed away almost a year ago having fought ovarian cancer for 4 years and this challenge is for her. By coincidence I started running regularly just under 4 years ago in an effort to lose some weight and get fit after having serious back problems from sitting in an office all day. I can remember her concern every time she came to visit me that ‘I was getting too thin’ and that I needed to be careful, she never did quite understand why I ran but that didn’t stop her coming along to races and cheering me on. It is for her that I’m taking on this challenge, the Quadzilla, 4 marathons on 4 consecutive days. In the space of 4 days I’m going to double the amount of marathons I’ve done and find out what it’s like to run a marathon with the DOMS from 3 marathons. I’m also hoping to try and raise some money for 2 great causes.

Maureen was an amazing woman, mother, daughter, wife and nanna whose passing has left a very big hole in the lives of her family and friends. In the last few weeks and months when things got tough the support her and Nick received from her Macmillan nurse made such a difference. Care that the NHS simply can’t provide but that helps people in the darkest times navigate their way through and help them make decisions. That’s why I’ve chosen to support Macmillan with this challenge and hopefully raise some money in Maureen’s memory to help other people in the same situation.

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Me and Mine April 2015

April has been some month, a real rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows. After the sadness of March we began the process of adjusting to life without Nanna, it’s a painful process and each ‘first’ without her another reminder of the gap we now have in our lives. We had Matilda’s birthday in the middle of the month, a small celebration as none of us were in the mood for a full blown party but I hope Matilda enjoyed it and didn’t mind not having all her friends there. We also had what is likely to be our only proper holiday this year with a glorious week near Padstow after the schools had all gone back. Almost a whole week of perfect sunny weather to play on the beach, explore the coast and visit the Eden project (twice!). I think we must have made our followers on Instagram pretty sick of seeing another photo of a sunny beach or a big ice cream. The holiday was also the source of this months photo which was taken by a very friendly Spanish tourist who happened to be stood near us as we posed. What you can’t tell from the picture is that just before it Matilda had a proper sulk on for some silly reason that was so silly I can’t even remember what it was.

At the Eden project

In April I’ve been mainly surviving and getting older, the month has been a bit of a blur of sleepless nights, busy days at work and a little bit of running. I also turned the grand old age of 33 this month, although I feel like I’m permanently 28 until I look in the mirror and see a face that has aged a lot over since Matilda was born. I’ve also been enjoying falling in love with running again, a combination of some amazing runs along the Cornish coastal path and going out with our new double running buggy with my boys. I love taking them out and chatting with Henry as we plod along the canal or cycle path, I wrote a post on my running blog here about this new found love of family running if you’re interested.

A run with a view

A run with a view

The lady of the manor has spent April being simply amazing; looking after this crazy little family of ours while clearly grieving hard for the loss of her mum. We haven’t been getting much sleep and Henry has hit the terrible two’s, yet despite this she’s been an awesome mum. She’s also become something of a runner, I even utter the words ‘I NEED to go for a run’ this week because she missed it so much rather than the guilt of not going for a few days. We’ve managed to get a nice routine going each week where she’s getting out either at 5pm when I get back from work or during the day with one or both boys in the pushchair. There is even talk of some races!

Orange flower at Eden project

Matilda has basically become a grown up little girl this month, all of sudden she is able to do all these things herself like put her seat belt on without any direction or assistance. It’s both scary and amazing at the same time. This has been compounded by finding out which school she’ll be going to in September; we thankfully got our first (and only choice) which is a weight off. We are out of the catchment area for the school but it’s under subscribed so we were always hopeful we would and it’s the perfect little village school just like the ones we attended and I think perfect for Matilda.

Henry’s April has been mainly about tantrums, tantrums about everything and anything. Even tantrums when you tell him that he has his slippers on the wrong feet which quite honestly is exhausting at times. The only saving grace is that he normally gets over them very quickly and is back to being a happy chatty boy within a few minutes. He turns 3 in May and clearly has decided that we’ve got off too lightly with the terrible two’s. He also decided on holiday that he most definitely does not like waves on the beach, I tried so hard to get him to come and paddle with Matilda and I but he just ran away screaming.

Rupert on the beach

Which brings me to Rupert, our happy, smiley, cheeky boy who loves his food yet is driving us crazy with his inability to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. He turned 6 months old last week and on holiday perfected the art of sitting which is awesome, so much fun being able to sit and play with him. He’s also getting very good at moving around on the floor and showed signs of pushing himself up onto all fours. So developing well, just doesn’t feel the need to sleep. We’ve just moved him into his own room and I’m trying to do the resettling so that he doesn’t look for milk but a good evening is one where his first wake up is 9pm. It becomes such a long day when you don’t even get a break in the evening plus trying to resettle a baby who weighs 10kg gets tiring very quickly!  If he wasn’t such a happy baby in the day I think we would have gone crazy by now.

I realised that I haven’t mentioned Bracken in these posts before, for the record he has spent April stealing washing from the utility room and then sitting in the garden chewing it. Not entirely sure why that’s started. He also had a holiday of his own at my parents house while we were away which he seems to have enjoyed a little too much.

How was your April?

Me and mine March 2015

This months photo I think exemplifies the challenge of getting a family photo; I’ve just got in from work and didn’t even get time to take my jacket off, Henry isn’t very well and has a high temperature, Rupert is tired and grouchy, Matilda needed bribing with chocolate to take part and the lady of the manor is exhausted from a day with 3 children. But actually that’s why I love it, it captures the real us and not some orchestrated scene. So ladies and gentlemen I give you March;

In the garden March 2015

How would I describe March? Hard. Plain and simple. A tough month, short on sleep and high on emotions. On March 16th we said goodbye to the lady of the manor’s mum, a beautiful day with standing room for the service but clearly one that everyone would have preferred not to have happened. Since then we’ve been muddling along, reality slowly setting in but still feeling like it’s a very bad dream. With each passing milestone it becomes little more real; the first visit of pops with no nanna, the first easter, the first of the children’s birthdays in April.

I know first hand the unique bond between a child and a mother, I see that between the lady of the manor and  Matilda and Henry already. I know they love me but I will never be mummy will I? That extra connection having spent 9 months growing inside their mum changes things. So when you lose your mum your world becomes out of kilter and may not ever recover.

But there was some sunshine in an otherwise dark month, Matilda and Henry have been thoroughly enjoying being able to be outside again. They often ask to go back in the garden after dinner for one last push in the swing even if we do need big jackets to keep out the cold wind. Two weekends ago we had a glorious day in the garden, the first of the year that felt warm and we spent probably 8 hours outside. I mowed the lawn, the children made mud pies in the veg patch, we even ate lunch outside.Spring is trying to spring isn’t it?

Rupert has gone through a huge development leap in the last couple of weeks, all of a sudden he’s reaching for things, rolling over, showing signs of moving on the floor and almost sitting. It never ceases to be fascinating watching a child develop like that does it? Even the 3rd time around those moments are magical. Now if he could just bloody sleep a bit more we’d all be happier. He sleeps a maximum of 3 hours at a time at night and wakes at least once if not twice in the evening. Having small children can get very intense at times and it would be nice to know that the evenings are ours most of the time, we might even be able to get out to the cinema once in a while.

I’ve pushed out my triathlon from June to August because training has had to take a back seat for the past month or so. August should hopefully give me enough time to get fit and ready for it and I’m actually quite enjoying my swim sessions now. The lady of the manor has also started running again and has even done a couple of 5k’s pushing a pushchair. We’ve also just purchased a double running pushchair so that we might be able to get out for a run as a whole family sometimes which should be quite hilarious.

March was tough but there is at least a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel during April, in a week we have our first holiday since June last year, a hopefully sunny week in Cornwall (not that we’ve booked anywhere yet). Then we get told which school Matilda has got into (scary stuff) followed by both her and my birthdays.

Do you have any exciting plans for April?

Me and Mine September

The observant among you will notice that this weeks post features 2 children not 3; baby boy has still yet to make an appearance despite the lady of the manor being adamant that he was going to be early. We’re now less than 2 weeks from due date so this should definitely be the last me and mine with only 4 people in the photo. September feels like it’s been a busy month but sitting down to write this I can’t exactly remember what we did that made us so busy.

This months photo was taken just last night after we’d been for a very rare dinner out with the children to Pizza Express in Marlborough. It’s the lady of the manor’s birthday today you see and the week’s schedule meant that last night was the best night to go out for dinner. We had such a lovely time eating and chatting with Matilda and Henry and then a lovely walk down Marlborough High street to look in the shop windows and enjoy this balmy late September weather. It’s also I think the first selfie that I’ve included in the me and mine posts this year, although technically I guess a lot of them are selfies just with a remote for the DSLR rather than holding a phone!

Marlborough selfie

This month I have been mainly building things and catching up on odd jobs before the baby comes; I built a pergola (finally) to go over the bench seat we put in the garden a few months ago. It’s lovely having a seat half way down the garden to sit on and has become one of Matilda’s favourite spots, I think she likes having the ‘roof’ over head. We plan to grow a rose up and over it next year which should hopefully make it even nicer to sit under. The second thing I’ve been building is a log and bin store to go behind our garage, with the log burner installed we now need somewhere to store and season the logs of course. I’m really quite enjoying building things like this, they may not be perfect but it’s great doing something practical. I have of course also been running and training for York marathon in 10 days (assuming baby boy doesn’t arrive before then).

Finished pergola

Matilda has seemingly spent September growing up by at least 2 years; she’s now going to preschool 3 days a week and it’s amazing the change in her as she gets more grown up and learns so many new things. She’s absolutely loving being there now and the ladies that run it are full of praise for how well she behaves and how she now looks after the ‘little ones’. I don’t want to boast but I’m claiming that as top parenting skills! She’s also started gymnastics this month and now spends 45 minutes every Saturday morning learning to balance, jump and roll around which is right up her street and a nice way to channel all that energy she has.

Henry has been enjoying some time with his mummy this month on the day Matilda is at preschool and he isn’t, I think he quite likes the peace and quiet and home and not having to put up with being told what to do by his sister all the time. He’s also spent much of the month scooting around on his balance bike and will happily spend most of the day going around the garden and doing races. Despite being 13 months younger than Matilda he’s as good as if not better on the bike than she is.

balance bike

The lady of the manor has spent September putting up with an awful lot of pain from the baby boy in her tummy; she had a growth scan last week as they were worried he was getting too big and found out that he was lying transverse. Certainly explains why her bump had been hurting so much! She’s also been organising everything we need to have the beautiful home birth that we’re hoping for, although not entirely sure the kids needed new clothes and beds for that…

Next month I will hopefully bring you a very exciting first family photo of us as a party of five. Which will be pretty darn cool. I think that might well be enough to keep us busy for the next few months!

dear beautiful

Me and Mine July

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed that I totally failed to write a me and mine post last month, that might give you some idea how busy the end of last month was. In fact I didn’t even notice that I’d forgotten until a week into the month. More of why I was so busy in a moment but for now I give you the glory that is our July photo. Taken during a family BBQ (a bad shirt BBQ hence my beautiful attire) where Matilda decided that she was definitely not having her photo taken and Henry as usual looked like he was focusing on doing a wee in his nappy. One day that might both actually smile, having said that I quite like photos where we aren’t all just staring at the camera.

Me and Mine July

I love that the last photo I shared for May had us all sat in jumpers and jeans while here we are bathing in the glorious summer weather. It’s also amazing to see how much Henry has changed in 2 months, he’s really turning into a little boy all of a sudden and is so full of chatter.

This month I have been mainly running an awfully long way, 100km to be exact, I completed the Race to the Stones the day before this photo was taken to raise money for Save the Children and Tommy’s. If you look closely you can see how red and swollen my ankles are, I spent most of the BBQ sat with my foot up on a chair and an ice pack on it!

While I haven’t been training for that race I’ve been in the garden building my pizza oven, often until it’s too dark to see what I’m doing. That’s all done now also and we had the first pizza last weekend, still fine tuning managing the fire but love the feeling of cooking that way. Oh and I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to share a photo again of me during the Race to the Stones here also, absolutely love this photo taken by the race photographer.


The lady of the manor has spent most of the month struggling with the heat and realising how much better it was being pregnant in the spring time with Matilda and Henry. She’s also been masterminding the makeover of our lounge complete with new chimney breast and log burner. It looks great just not ideal weather for firing up a log burner! She’s also finally in the last week been enjoying a little peace and quiet while I take the kids out at the weekend. Love having quality time with them and hopefully helps give her a little break every so often.

Matilda has been absolutely loving preschool in July, the move to her new one has really paid off, so much so that she’s now complaining that it’s the summer holidays and she can’t go. She’s learnt so much there and you can see how we’re going to have to keep her brain busy over the next few weeks. She’s also become completely obsessed with princesses and in particular a certain one called Elsa! She’s constantly singing the songs and swishing her princess dress around.

Henry has found his singing voice this month; mainly from going to preschool and he also can give a very good rendition of ‘do you want to build a snowman’ from Frozen. However I think Rainbow Fish is his favourite, never heard of this song until they went to preschool but it’s lovely and is sung to the tune of twinkle, twinkle little star. He’s also started to show some signs of being ready to potty train, going to put it off a few more weeks but he’s starting to use the toilet a little. I’m sure once we do start we’re going to find him weeing in the garden or in the corner of rooms though!

dear beautiful
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